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Metro Vancouver housing market balanced in January; demand rising

Metro Vancouver housing market balanced in January; demand rising ( 2/16/2011 )

Strong buyer demand has continued to push up prices in many parts of Vancouver, but the overall market conditions are starting to balance out, according to a monthly report by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The latest numbers show that while prices were up overall from a year ago, the amount of increase greatly depended on location.

The benchmark price of a detached home increased 22.6 per cent in Richmond in January over the past 12 months, and 12.2 per cent over the same period in Vancouver West, for example. The average price for a detached home across the Vancouver region increased just 2.7 per cent in January from a year earlier, however.

“There was a healthy balance between the number of home buyers and sellers in our market in January, but there’s always variation in activity from region to region,” said Jake Moldowan, president of the REBGV. “We’re seeing strong sellers’ market conditions in areas like Richmond and the west side of Vancouver.”

The pace of homes sold in Vancouver was down, according to the figures, but still above historical averages. Some 1,819 residential properties were sold in Greater Vancouver in January 2011, down 4.2 per cent from the 1,899 sales recorded in December 2010 and down 5.4% from the 1,923 sales in January 2010.

But going back a year further, the 2011 January sales figures were a 138.7% increase from the 762 home sales in January 2009.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,801 in January, a 6.7 per cent decrease compared to January 2010 when 5,147 properties were listed.

The highest price for a benchmark detached property, which the REBGV uses to describe a typical property within each market, was $1.8 million in Vancouver West. The lowest was $381,183 in Sunshine Coast. Overall the benchmark price for a house was $585,068.
Vancouver was recently ranked the most expensive city in North America in the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, considering the median house price and the average salary of hundreds of cities around the world.